Doncaster GP surgery accidentally tells patients they have lung cancer instead of Christmas message

Askern Medical Practice followed up the mistaken message with an apology and correction shortly after. Credit: Facebook

A GP surgery near Doncaster has apologised after mistakenly sending a mass text message to its patients saying they had "aggressive lung cancer".

Askern Medical Practice had intended to send a message to all its patients wishing them merry Christmas and happy New Year on Christmas Eve, but accidentally told them they had the disease "with metastases" - secondary cancerous growths elsewhere in the body - and that a "DS1500" form needed to be completed.

A DS1500 form is used to apply for additional benefits from the government if someone has been given a terminal diagnosis.

The correction message was sent 22 minutes after the initial text, offering "sincere apologies" and saying the previous one had been "sent out in error". It's not yet clear how the mistake occurred.

This message was mistakenly sent to patients at Askern Medical Practice. Credit: Facebook

Property developer Chris Reed, 57, tried to call the surgery after his partner broke down following the text but found the lines were all busy. They rushed to the centre and were told on arrival that the message was a mistake and his cancer results were actually negative.

One patient took to Facebook to say they were "shaking and close to tears" after receiving the message. They said: "Something's clearly not right at Askern Medical Practice. Fuming. I received this message and I'm not the only one."

"I was shaking and close to tears. Quite a few in the surgery now with the same text," they said. "I was near the surgery and walked in to say 'what the hell?'. I'm not the only one, but people will now be worried if they've received this text." 

The correction message was sent 22 minutes later. Credit: Facebook

Another patient, Carl, who didn't want his last name to be used, commented: "Yet another absolute FAILURE from a c**p doctors."

Speaking to ITV News, Carl said: "It started worrying the hell out of me. I was really anxious about it.

"I showed it to my mum, and she said she'd had exactly the same text. I said, 'if that's somebody's idea of a joke, it's not a very funny one'," he said.

"Apparently there have been some people who were waiting on cancer results, and they thought that was their life over. News like that shouldn't be delivered by text message anyway."

Carl says the level of service has "gone downhill" at the practice in the last 2 years, and that this has been the final straw for him.

"I'm making arrangements to go somewhere else," he said.

Askern Medical Practice has been approached for comment.


Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.